Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Randy Young

Degree Award Date

Spring 2008


Status, Sincerity, Repeat Offenders, Apologies, Forgiveness


Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology


Apologies depend upon one's sincere demeanor and another's forgiveness. Varying defendants' status and sincerity, and order of the justifications, we had participants watch five defendants, already on probation, justify their current offense. Results indicated both anticipated and surprising influences on forgiveness. As predicted, compared to pre-experimental session ratings, participants were more jaded about legal transgressions at the end of the experiment. However, during the experimental session, participants were more forgiving of the final defendant than the first. Additionally, the status and sincerity of the defendant impacted participants' judgments of forgiveness.